Orchids of Thailand

By Alexis Medina - Horticulturists at the NYBG have assembled orchids from the garden’s collection, along with others from growers across the country, to create the exhibition. A central display is a traditional Thai pavilion.

Thailand has 1,200 native orchid species and is a leading global exporter of the tropical flowers.

Elephant topiaries highlight the southeastern Asian country's national symbol.

The nation's climate make it a particularly good environment for orchids to flourish and they literally grow on trees on public streets.

Designer Christian Primeau incorporates sky lanterns, spirit houses and features of traditional Thai gardens in the show.

Numbers in the show follow Thai cultural beliefs. Odd numbers in Thai culture mean good luck, especially nine. Thirteen, however, is an exception. Thus, the show creators hung lanterns in groups of nine, the clusters of pots are also in odd numbers.

Color is also symbolic in Thai culture, where colors are assigned for each day of the week as a symbol of luck. So, what are the lucky colors? “It depends,” Primeau said. “Unfortunately you will see colors that are probably unlucky, but in order to keep it lucky we would have to change up the entire show each day.” (Marc Hachadourian - L - Christian Primeau - R)

Soda and candy are placed in front of spirit houses, as an offering. Bright colors and sugar make guardian spirits happy.

Orchids float in water throughout the exhibit in ponds, pools and water jars.

Vanda orchids are a common genus found in Thai gardens. Other flowers featured are Paphiopedilum orchids, also called Venus slipper for their pouch-like lips.

The Orchid Show will be open till April 9th and will include evening events, tours, film screens and dance performances.

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